Applying a common-sense process to selecting your custom-built aircraft helps you decide what your requirements are and how to meet them with a manufactured aircraft. The most important question you need to answer is “how much of this do I want or need to do?” The answer will help you decide whether you’ll build from plans, standard kits, or quick-build kits. If you have lots of do-it-yourself skills and experience and plenty of time, you might consider building from plans. Otherwise, you might decide to build from a kit.
Another important question that many experimental aircraft builders have to answer is “what skin do I prefer?” An airframe can be covered in various ways, including with a metal skin, a fabric skin, and a composite (fiberglass) skin. Fabric is cheaper and lighter, but metal holds up longer, especially if parked in the elements. Composite materials are light and stable, but more expensive. There are pros and cons to each. Of course, the decision could be made for you if you fall in love with a model that happens to be fabric covered. Stay objective for as long as you can. And don’t be afraid to ask other home builders for their opinions and preferences.
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Refer to plan and kit documents for specifications and characteristics such as wing span, fuel capacity, maximum gross weight, stall speed, and so on. This information can help you decide which aircraft best meet your flying requirements.
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide